Using the Internationally Recognized Frameworks of Nursing Competences to address the challenges of nurse refugees without documentation

  • Maria Cassar University of Malta
Keywords: nurse refugees, competences frameworks, nurse qualification, nursing shortage, Tuning


Individuals seeking refuge in host countries is a global reality. Some of these individuals are qualified nurses. If, and when, the documents pertaining to a nurse qualification are not presented to the respective authorities of a host country, the challenges for these qualified nurses to secure registration and employment as nurses are numerous and often unsurmountable. Access to higher education opportunities is similarly compromised in the absence of relevant documents. This is happening against the backdrop of a widely reported global shortage of qualified nurses, and an extensive effort and investment to address this shortage in many countries. This paper explores the feasibility and appropriateness of applying internationally recognized frameworks of competences of nurses, to processes which seek to evaluate and verify the nurse training and qualification claimed by refugee nurses. The author seeks to determine whether such frameworks of nurse competences may effectively and efficiently contribute towards initiatives which are geared towards addressing the gap in (qualification) document availability, traceability, verification and reproduction of nurse refugees. A critical consideration of a few existent initiatives is presented in view of exploring, the identification of a tool which may enable a homogenous transnational approach which is consistent across salient parameters.

Received: 16 April 2020
Accepted: 31 August 2020

Author Biography

Maria Cassar, University of Malta

RN, PhD, is Head of the Department of Nursing and Co-ordinator of the Masters programme in Nursing at the University of Malta. She is a qualified nurse, and currently holds a senior lecturer post at the University of Malta. Her academic commitments include lecturing across various undergraduate and post-graduate programmes at the University of Malta and thesis supervision of both under graduate and postgraduate students in Malta and Universities in the UK. She pursued nurse training in Malta, and later completed masters and doctoral programmes in nursing in the UK, where she resided for a decade. She has worked in many countries spanning the US, Africa (Angola), India and a couple of European countries. Her main professional interests are curriculum design and development, internationalisation, evaluation and quality assurance of higher education programmes. She has participated in two Tuning projects; Tuning-MEDA and CALOHEE projects. Dr Cassar’s research interests lie within the field of education, specifically in education for the health and social sector workforce, including both professional and nonprofessional staff, and in aspects of education pertaining to workforce development, retention and mobility. Mail:


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How to Cite
Cassar, Maria. 2020. “Using the Internationally Recognized Frameworks of Nursing Competences to Address the Challenges of Nurse Refugees Without Documentation”. Tuning Journal for Higher Education 8 (1), 53-73.